This final isn't for us, it is for the people of Pretoria - Van Staden

rugby20 June 2024 12:21| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Marco van Staden © Gallo Images

It took one of the more straight-talking Vodacom Bulls players to lay it on the line what the Vodacom United Rugby Championship final means for his side ahead of their showdown with Glasgow Warriors at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

World Cup winner Marco van Staden, the straightest shooter in the team, laid it down in no uncertain terms: We want to win this trophy, not for the team, but for everyone in Pretoria.

Van Staden’s hat-tip to the fact that the 23 players on the field aren’t the only ones who get a side to the final is something often taken for granted but underlines the "it takes a village" mentality at the Bulls currently.

Often, and it isn’t spoken about enough in modern sport, it is the behind-the-scenes staff - the medical and fitness staff, the ticket operations, the security guards and those working hard to ensure that when the 15 players take the field, their talent shines through.

“It’s a massive occasion for us,” Van Staden said with a deadpan face, not giving away any emotion as he faced the media.

“Last week it hit us after the game was confirmed and the final would be at Loftus, we know it will be a big occasion and we all know it is a privilege to have that pressure. It’s a nice pressure to have a home final on your home ground, we couldn’t ask for more.

“But we realise it is more than just trying to lift the trophy - there are a lot of people involved in our success and this is a lot bigger than just the team. We know that keeps us grounded going into this game.”

Van Staden said that if the side was able to win the final this weekend, the victory would be for the people of Pretoria and for the fans that have been tirelessly supporting them over a long period.

“It will mean a lot to us, not just the players who are playing but also for the people behind the scenes and those coming out to support us. That is the bigger thing, the bigger purpose that we play for, it is more than just lifting a trophy, it means a lot more to people than just that.”

The biggest mistake the Bulls could make is to do something different this week, and Van Staden says that message has been front and centre in the Bulls camp.,

“It is a big occasion with a full Loftus and we need to stay calm and do the things we normally do. We need to focus on ourselves and not make the occasion too big. We need to keep doing what we have been doing. There is a reason why we are in this position.

“We know Glasgow are a good team and we certainly won’t take them for granted. We know we will have to be at our best on the day to win. But we are playing for Pretoria and we want to make a difference in the lives of people in Pretoria.”

There may be something of a concern that the Bulls expended so much energy in the win over Leinster, where they painted themselves as underdogs and scored one of the bigger upsets of the competition that they may not have enough energy for this weekend’s final, but Van Staden rejects this.

“We didn’t go into the Leinster game thinking we were underdogs, our focus was on doing what it takes to get into the final. Being underdogs was one thing, but our motivation was not taking the favourites out, but our focus from the start was to try and get into the final.

“Now that we’ve done that, our focus is now to win the final.”